October 23, 2018

Pro-Israel Organizations Call On NYU President to Investigate Student Organizations Who Signed Anti-Israel Statement

StandWithUs and The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law issued a letter to New York University President Andrew Hamilton calling on him to investigate the over 50 clubs on campus who signed a statement calling for boycotts against Israel.

The anti-Israel statement, which was signed by the likes of NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) not only called for boycotts of Israeli goods, but also boycotts of pro-Israel clubs on campus due to supposed Israeli “occupation.”

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe), during which more than 700,000 Palestinians were violently expelled from their homes by Zionist militias, and of the establishment of the State of Israel, which continues its campaign of ethnic cleansing of Palestine to this day in the form of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and brutal siege of Gaza,” the statement reads. “We support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights as it is a non-violent method of resisting Israeli apartheid from abroad. We call on NYU to divest its holdings from companies and funds that are complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

The letter from StandWithUs and the Brandeis Center denounced the statement for how it targets Jews.

“There are violations of NYU policy here, and conduct foreseeably undertaken in support of this statement could potentially violate state and federal law,” the letter states. “Moreover, it indicates a reprehensible joint effort to marginalize and stigmatize the Jewish student community at your university. We urge your administration to investigate this matter, and if violations of student conduct rules or applicable laws are found, discipline responsible organizations accordingly.”

The letter pointed out that the statement violates NYU policy, which prohibits discrimination of any kinds, and could violate state law, which prevents boycotts of people of “national origin.” There could also be a federal law violation, as the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights stated in 2004 that Jewish students were protected from discrimination.

“This anti-Zionist statement, if not properly addressed by NYU’s administration, could create a hostile environment for students of Jewish and/or Israeli backgrounds on campus,” the letter states.

The letter concluded by calling for Hamilton to investigate the statement, denounce it and then provide training on how such anti-Zionism could lead to virulent anti-Semitism.

In an April 19 town hall, Hamilton condemned the BDS movement.

“The university will not participate in boycotting of academics based in Israel. We believe in academic freedom and the free flow of ideas,” Hamilton said. “Boycotting is antithetical to that vision.”

Hamilton has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.